To hear a recorded announcement of upcoming events, call (617) 623-1806.
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Tickets for concerts in Watertown (not house concerts or other events) can be purchased online at BrownPaperTickets.com. Use the code season55 to get member and student prices.
And here's what we presented earlier this season:
FSSGB is pleased to present "Bound for Glory", a Woody Guthrie Tribute show. This is a free concert performed outside under a tent, adjacent to the Old Manse in Concord, near North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. It features a lot of FSSGB members, many of whom have performed in former Woody shows way back to the 60's, along with newer FSSGB members.
Moira Craig is from East Kilbride, where her family has lived for generations. She has long been recognized by club and festival goers for her superb interpretations of Scottish, Irish and English songs and ballads. A former winner of the "Sidmouth Singer of the Year" award, Moira became more widely known through her contributions to the Pastimes albums. She also has a solo album, "On Ae Bonny Day". Moira has appeared in Britain, Germany and the USA, charming audiences with her clear ringing voice and wonderful repertoire.
Carolyn Robson is a professional singer and musician specializing in traditional folk song and dance. Her extensive repertoire consists mainly of songs from her native Northumberland and Scotland as well as from other parts of the British Isles. Carolyn has a wealth of singing and teaching experience and has made countless club and festival appearances, featuring in HTV's 2004 documentary on Cecil Sharp. She is now widely recognized as one of country's finest female singers.
Together Craig and Robson bring a new dimension to the art of a-capella singing. They weave beguiling harmonies around material from the British tradition and beyond with "an effortless range and variety unheard in folk music for many years" (Folk London). Timeless songs of love and longing rub shoulders with compelling contemporary songs, and passionate, dramatic ballads take their place alongside a lilting Shetland melody or a stirring hymn from the Ozark mountains. The occasional solo song only adds to the variety of their overall performance. Here is a duo in which two distinctively different voices melt into one another to create a sound which is all their own.
After over 40 years of singing, collecting, teaching and spreading traditional music around the world, Sara Grey seems more enthusiastic about her chosen work than ever. "We don't work at it, we just do it. We just open up our mouths and do it."
Once you have heard Sara Grey you will never forget her. She has a certain quality of voice that compels you to give her your undivided attention. Her voice is both powerful and sweet with a distinctive and lovely tremolo. It is a voice well suited to native American ballads and the ballads of Ireland and Scotland. One of the best things about her singing is that it reflects her great knowledge of and feeling for traditional music. She just seems to know what is right in the interpretation of a traditional song. She is a ballad singer of great strength with a fine understanding of the importance of understatement. Her singing is richly emotional and she is equally at home with a gentle lyric or a harsh account of life on the frontier.
It is not Sara's lovely voice alone that makes her one of the most popular singers on the folk scene, on many of her songs Sara accompanies herself by frailing a five string banjo and, when playing dance tunes, it is obvious why she is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the clawhammer style. As well as singing and playing, Sara is well known for her storytelling - specialising in stories from New England where she grew up learning many of her stories from her father.
Her son Kieron Means has such a tremendous passion when he sings, it goes right to the very core of himself, he's totally immersed the songs. He is a terrific performer on account of just that passion. His voice is especially striking, achieving the rare combination of a high lonesome edge with a warm richness of timbre, and it has a power to move the listener that few of his generation can match. His guitar playing is unconventional, its spareness a mile away from any notion of fancy picking, but it's highly effective, while his stage presence is charismatic, yet laid-back. His songs range from old-time, through the blues - which he sings with startling conviction - to the work of tradition-influenced songwriters, and his own compositions have people, who know a good song when they hear one, nodding in approval.
"When a child grows up with a parent who sings and plays music, it's just part of their lives--it's bound to happen," Sara continued. "Kieron always knows where I'm going. He knows when I'm going to pause, and I know when he's going to pause--even when it's out of context. We just feel it."
Born in Middlesbrough in the northeast of England, Richard Grainger is one of the most prolific and diverse artists on the folk scene today. He is a superb guitarist, singer, songwriter, innovator, writer and entertainer. Many of his songs are performed widely by artists including The Wilson Family, Flossie Malavialle, GU4, John Morris, Dick Miles, Monkeys Fist , Kimbers Men and many more.
In 1984 his first solo album was released, and it received great reviews - some comparing him to the 'incomparable' Nic Jones and Martin Carthy. Before long, Richard was touring throughout the UK at folk clubs and major festivals and was regularly heard 'live' and on record on BBC's Folk on 2. Since then, he has released 11 albums of his own well crafted songs and a few traditional songs given his unique treatment.
During the 1990's Richard performed with well known folk musician Dick Miles and then accordion 'sultan', Chris Parkinson. Both partnerships were recorded and received critical acclaim. The musical partnership with Chris Parkinson produced some of the material heard on the 1994 Folksound album 'Thunderwood' . Grainger & Parky are enjoying a revival since their reunion in 2008.
In recent years he has added several musical plays to his repertoire. Among the most notable of these is 'The Journey Home' - a rewrite of Homer's 'Odyssey', which was premiered in Sicily at The University of Catania, in 2003. That was preceded by 'Eye of the Wind' telling the tale of the world renowned explorer James Cook. The play was produced for radio with BBC's David Attenborough narrating.
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are talented singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, educators and record producers. The two-time Grammy Award-winning duo are a formidable powerhouse of sound, with a repertoire of traditional and contemporary folk, old-time country and swing music. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the acoustic & electric guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin, cello banjo, ukulele, percussion and many other instruments. They are ready to engage and entertain audiences of all ages, with a broad following in family music and in American Roots styles. Top it off with a witty stage presence and warm audience rapport and you've got a well loved music duo.
They've earned two Grammy Awards, in 2004 and 2005 for "cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins" and for "Bon Appetit!". In 2003, they were Grammy nominated for their CD, "Postcards" in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. They received another Grammy nomination in that category for "Banjo Talkin'". They produced and performed on Tom Paxton's Grammy nominated "Live in the UK" CD and tour. Tom says, "Cathy & Marcy are at home in a dozen musical styles. They swing you, jazz you, and old timey you till you just give up and bliss out."
Sunday, December 7, 2014, 2-5 pm
in the back room at Doyle's Cafe
3484 Washington St.
Jamaica Plain, MA
Sponsored by the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston
and The West Gallery Quire.
Come and sing Carols from the Sheffield, West Gallery, and Sacred Harp traditions (as well as some standard favorites), led by Bruce Randall of The West Gallery Quire.
With special guests, The Paper Bag Mummers, providing merriment and mayhem!
Suitable for all voices and melodic instruments. Music will be available.
Free! (but we will pass the hat for the waitress)
Contact Bruce Randall (email@example.com) for more information.
The Trio de Pumpkintown celebrates the songs of a fictional New England village in fresh, acoustic arrangements. Much of their music comes from the 18th and 19th centuries: love songs, murder ballads, songs of travel on the high seas, rollicking Afro-Celtic sing-alongs, music of local francophone and Scottish communities and shape-note harmony including that of 18th century Native American composer Metacomet Samson. In addition to their traditional New England repertoire, the Trio also plays their own original music and, occasionally, songs by local P'town bands and music drawn from their contact with more recent immigrants to the area.
While The Trio's own compositions have been praised as "strange and original works" (NetRhythmsUK) and "wicked awesome" (The Pumpkinville Daily Sewer), the band is also devoted to preserving other local music of the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, and their performances sometimes include an acoustic cover version or two of songs by P'town bands like Weasel Stain (copcore), Crucifer (vegan doom) and Vaginasaur (anarcho-feminist postpop). Adding to their historical and original repertoire, The Trio de Pumpkintown sometimes draws on material gathered during the course of their collaborative research into minority musics in the region.
Pumpkintown has been known regionally as a musical destination for nearly two hundred years, from renowned 19th century singer Josh Billings Sr. ("Black Josh") to the indie rock scene that popped up virtually overnight after an early 70's gig by The Shaggs at the old meetinghouse. The Trio learned much of its traditional repertoire from their friend Silas Billings III, a font of traditional songs he learned from his great uncle Josh Billings Jr., who in turn learned them from his father. Silas, who also has a longstanding relationship to Sprigfield County's indie scene, is just one of several local musicians to have made a guest appearance on the Trio de Pumpkintown's pre-debut album Josh Billings Voyage: or Cosmopolite on the Cotton Road. The album is available online at timeriksen.bandcamp.com, at A.J. Hastings Newsdealer and Stationer in downtown Amherst, Massachusetts, and worldwide at various locations where the band has hidden copies in the woods.
With an old-time voice that echoes the mountains, Martha Burns sings southern ballads, cowboy songs, comic ditties, turn-of-the-century heart-throbbers, and whatever else strikes her fancy. A gifted solo performer, she has also appeared in old-time duets and with several top-notch string bands. Martha's sensitivity to the traditions from which she sings lends a special richness to all her performances. Her easy manner and warm humor have delighted audiences throughout the United States, as well as Canada and the UK.
Kim and Reggie Harris are dynamic and superbly talented traditional folk performers, whose captivating stage presence and unique harmonies has earned the respect and love of audiences throughout the US, Canada and Europe for over 30 years. They are unique in their ability to entertain audiences of any age and background as they blend their talents as singers, songwriters, educators, interpreters of history and cultural advocates.
Consummate musicians and storytellers, Kim and Reggie combine a strong folk and gospel legacy with a solid background in classical, rock, jazz and pop music. Creative curiosity, years of road and stage experience and interactions with performers such as Pete Seeger, Ysaye Barnwell, Jay Leno, Tom Paxton, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Harry Belafonte and others, has led them to produce music that entertains and inspires.
Audiences at venues such as The Kennedy Center, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Smithsonian Institute, Reunion Arena in TX, the Psalm Festival in Graz, Austria, as well as a myriad of theatre arts centers, festivals, universities and schools, have given this inspiring duo standing ovations for their vibrant performances.
Proceeds from this concert will benefit the First Parish's Helen Robinson Wright fund, which provides assistance for individuals in need.
Matthew Byrne was born into a family of Newfoundland music makers and his repertoire is heavily influenced by this unique singing tradition. It is a tradition that thrives on the song – the weaving of a great story with a beautiful melody – and Matthew's music reminds us how satisfying traditional songs can be when stripped down to these basic elements. His live performances offer tasteful and honest interpretations of folk songs delivered with polished guitar work and powerful vocals. His repertoire transcends time and place and offers a collection of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.
It has been four years since Matthew burst on to the trad scene with his debut recording, "Ballads" – an album that confirmed his status as one the east coast's most authentic and vital traditional voices. In that time, Matthew's music has traveled well beyond the rugged shores of his homeland. His role as singer and song-finder in The Dardanelles has brought him to many major international stages throughout around the globe including the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Celtic Connections in Glasgow, UK, and The Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland, Australia.
Matthew is currently promoting his second solo offering – Hearts & Heroes, an album that brilliantly showcases his musical growth as a traditional singer and guitar player since his debut album, and asserts a new level of musicianship and a skill with interpreting traditional songs. The influence of four years with a powerful and rhythmic trad group is evident in many places throughout this recording. Songs like "Bold Nelson" and "McAlpine's Crew" showcase a thicker band sound and balance beautifully alongside the stark, stripped-down arrangements on the record. Each song is a captivating story delivered with a powerful voice and masterful guitar playing. Hearts & Heroes is available in stores and online.